03 May 2006

Books Galore

I've not organised this at all well.

I meant to photo some of the amazingly old books here ranged around the various shelves and loos but got the order wrong and, frankly, the quality of some of pics is poor.

Some of the titles that caught my eye:

  • Sackville West's "In your Garden" titles, 1950, 1952, and 1953
  • HG Wells' History of the World, published in 1930 by Watts & Co of Fleet Street in their superbly named "Thinker's Libary", no price.
  • Witty George Mikes' (pronounced Mikesh)'How to Tango', 1962 at 4/6
  • GM's 'How to be an Alien', 1946 at 7/6. Hmm, the year of my birth. I wonder if some joker gave it to my mum by way of a hint at how awful babies are. In fact, it's signed in mum's maiden name so what's going on *there*, I wonder.

    There is, in fact, in the archives an Australian news cutting announcement of my birth that gets my parents' wedding day wrong by a year, having me emerge a close-shave 5 days after the nuptials. Phew.

  • A PG Wodehouse Penguin, out in 1958 at 3/6
  • Cartoonist Ronald Searle, 1960 no price
  • Osbert Lancaster, 1964 at five bob
  • Uncorrected and unbound proof of Saul Bellow's Humboldt's Gift (1974) that I had flown over from the US publishers so I could read and talk it up before the Secker edition came out. I toted it around with me when Saul and I went walkabout round the top press and media. SB received the Nobel Prize for literature shortly after Humboldt came out and my finished bound copy has a v sweet note along the lines of "To my friend Chris with friendshop and gratitude for getting me the Nobel."

    Of *course* they all say that we always fall for it, but how nice.

  • A "Flowers of the Countryside" (dread subject!) at 7/6 and no publication date which shows just what a gents' game it was back then, whenever 'then' was.
  • Lovely book about Hong Kong, 1960, full of racially profiling illustrations including one of a happy carver sitting in front of a *mountain* of ivory - talk about incorrect and anti-conservation.

    The house is *full* of such volumes that I remember from my Hong Kong childhood and which simply stayed in my parent's bookshelves til Dad retired and were then packed up and shipped in their entirety to Greece.